Courtesy of The Inquirer

Out with the old, in with the new. 

On Friday, the Villanova community celebrated the official grand opening of the Finneran Pavilion with their annual basketball celebration, Hoops Mania. 

Hours before the event, The Villanovan sports editors were able to explore the Pavilion on a tour led by Athletic Director Mark Jackson. 

The tour started with a view of the Pavilion from the outside, which has a brand-new glass entrance gleaming above a lit up “Finneran Pavilion” sign. The walkway leading up to the arena is named McMahon Way, in honor of alumnus and University Trustee, Patrick McMahon ’85, who donated five million dollars to the project. 

The pathway is lined with banners honoring some of the current stars of the men’s and women’s teams and is meant to serve as a gathering place for fans both pre and post-game. A large, light up Villanova logo has also been added adjacent to the main entrance. 

Once inside the arena, fans are immediately struck by the variety of new amenities that are available throughout. The upper level of the concourse boasts a variety of commemorative items, honoring the championship Villanova basketball teams of the past. On the right-hand side, the Villanova Athletics Hall of Fame has also been added, in the form of an interactive screen. This allows the fans to look up any member of the Hall of Fame and get more information about them. 

One of the most significant additions to the arena is the brand new club section. Those who purchase courtside/club seating have access to a brand new bar area which has the parts of the floor from the 2016 NCAA Championship game in Houston. The section boasts a variety of TVs, food and drink options, as well as a massive video board that will broadcast the game. 

The court itself also has seen its share of upgrades. Although capacity, which is 6501, has not increased, Jackson stressed that matching the size of other school’s arenas was not the goal of this project. 

“We were trying to build the best arena for Villanova,” Jackson said. 

Four large video boards adorn each corner of the playing surface, and a horizontal video screen hangs above center court. Although capacity remains the same, the seats have been made wider, and cushions have been applied. Aisles are much more spacious, allowing for easier movement to and from seats. There are now more than 80 courtside seats available in the venue. 

An additional change is that, for the first time, the student section will be on both sides of the floor, which should immensely benefit the home team on game day.  

“I know it was always important to Jay to have fans at both ends of the floor, and I think it’s really going to enhance the energy,” Jackson said. 

Some other new additions include the Lone Chair Project, in which the University has added an extra seat in honor of those who have served our military, as well as the ‘Cats Care Program, where four courtside seats will be offered each game to underprivileged children in the area.

With the opening of the Finneran Pavilion, fans of the Nova Nation aren’t the only ones eager to step foot in the building. The players expressed their excitement, too. 

“To play in this brand new, top of the art facility is going to be great,” senior guard Phil Booth said. “I can’t wait. This is going to be a very cool experience.” 

“Everywhere you see, you look around, there’s Villanova, there’s blue. It’s bright. It’s live in here,” senior guard Adrianna Hahn said. 

The Finneran Pavilion will first host official game action on Nov. 6 when the men’s team welcome Morgan State.